Friday, May 13, 2011

Worthy Of Joining The Hallowed Company

4195 Queen Anne's Revenge
The Chronicler's Rating - 5/5
Price ~ $120.00
Year Released - 2011

This set joins a hallowed company, revered the world over by kids right on up to the hard core Lego enthusiasts: the large scale Lego pirate ships (large scale defined as having a wide hull and 2 or more middle sections).  It is an elite company which, despite spanning over 2 decades is, with the addition of the Queen Anne’s Revenge is comprised of only 5 other sets: 6285 Black Seas Barracuda, 6286 Skull’s Eye Schooner, 6289 Red Beard Runner, 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty and most recently 10210 Imperial Flagship (this last one is not technically a pirate ship but it fits in the category of large scale ships).   Lego enthusiast far and wide generally consider the large scale ships to be the holy grails of Lego sets and will argue to the bitter end which one of these revered sets is the best; with their respective opinions being heavily influenced by whichever one they happen to have in their collection.  On the addition of this set to my collection I am fortunate enough to have 4 of the 6 so I can hopefully bring a somewhat objective opinion to the table in this review.  My thoughts can be summed up in one brief sentence: this set is magnificent.

The Queen Anne’s Revenges is heavily influenced by its predecessors, despite the fact that it is first and foremost a re-creation of the ship seen in the movie.  When considered in this vein Lego has done an excellent job of balancing three potentially contradictory goals: creating a movie accurate model, incorporating the hallmarks of the great Lego ships of the past and keeping the price within a reasonable range.  For this delicate balancing act they are to be heartily commended.  I would place this set squarely in the middle of the pantheon of large scale Lego ships ahead of the Brickbeard’s Bounty and the Red Beard Runner and beaten only by the Barracuda, Skull’s Eye and Imperial Flagship.  Considering that all 3 of those latter ships are generally considered by fans to be in the top 10 of best Lego sets ever produced this is hardly a demerit!   

I could fill several pages with observations on the positives of this set as well as the aspects that are influenced by its predecessors.  However, as this forum is meant to primarily inform potential buyers I shall settle for summarizing a few of the main attractions.  First off, this ship is huge due to the inclusion of 3 middle hull pieces.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the measuring standards and design of Lego pirate ships here is a brief tutorial.  All Lego pirate ships have the same basic construction there are front and rear hull pieces joined by what are referred to as “middle pieces”.  The number of these middle pieces are the defining characteristic that determine how long the ship is.  Only one ship, 10210 Imperial Flagship, has ever had more than 3 (and that set was a collector’s model so in some ways it doesn’t count) so this set is tied for second longest ship ever produced alongside the Skull’s Eye and the Barracuda.  The color scheme is beautiful and it has stunning architectural details due to the inclusion of numerous small pieces (a major plus!).  Furthermore it has a middle mast with 3 sails which no other set except for 10210 Imperial Flagship, has ever had, and more cannon ports than any other ship ever produced (I must quickly point out however that only 3 cannon’s are provided so not all of these ports can be armed at the same time without the addition of more cannons).  And finally, it is just stunning to look at.  I have always had a soft spot for how magnificent Lego pirate ships look and this one continues that tradition, a true feast for the eyes, especially from the front!

As a child I longed for a Lego pirate ship with nearly every beat of my little heart.  Due to their expense it was not until much later in life, when I could earn my own money that I was able to finally add one of these treasures (and subsequently several more) to my collection.  Trust me when I say your child or grandchild will adore this set.  If it is at all possible for you to make it happen get this treasure, it will be enjoyed for generations. 

Whether it’s that you like the movies, just want a pirate ship, or need an opponent for another ship you already have there are a thousand reasons to get this set.  Save your allowance and birthday money and add this to your collection, you will love it!

I must confess I was nervous when I heard that Lego was getting into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  When the Harry Potter franchise temporarily replaced the long running Castle theme in the early 2000’s the need to make the sets movie accurate precluded the inclusion of the aspects which made the Castle theme what it was.  Harry Potter wasn’t a bad theme, it just wasn’t Castle.  I was worried that in the name of “movie accuracy” the ships in this new theme would not have the magic of the great ships of the past.  I was delighted to discover that, although definitely a re-creation, the Queen Anne’s Revenge does not look out of place alongside such legends as the Barracuda or Skull’s Eye and is worthy of being included in the pantheon of Lego pirate ships on its own merits.  The positives of this set are so overwhelming that the few minor demerits my trained eye can see are not even worth mentioning.  I will go a step beyond recommending and say that if you only get one large set in 2011 make it this one, you won’t regret it. 

Happy Building
The Lego Chronicler

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